When one considers the types of people a publication like Business Week routinely interviews, characters like Gene Simmons might not come immediately to mind. However, the face-painting rocker with the trademark tongue is as much a businessman as he is a rock star, and what he said recently in an interview with the magazine suggests that business comes first, and rocking fits in somewhere lower on his priority list.
Another thing that’s obvious regarding Simmons’ comments is that he does not mince words. He seems like the type of guy that says what’s on his mind, and if people don’t like it, well, that’s just too bad. Kind of like a Ted Nugent with less profanity, I suppose.
Simmons obviously has a tremendous passion for business, and it’s something that has certainly paid off well for him. He greatly admires business legends like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, and he’s used lessons learned from people like that to build himself his own business empire.
As a group, KISS has over 3,000 licensed products. “…everything from condoms to caskets. We have you coming and going,” Simmons says. A statement that was quite probably accompanied by a sly smile.
In addition to the business side of KISS, Simmons has a number of solo ventures that must keep him on the go regularly. In addition to the up-coming return of his reality TV show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, he’s got another reality show in the works, and a recently-released book on the subject of prostitution called Ladies of the Night: A Historical and Personal Perspective on the Oldest Profession in the World.
When asked about the differences between himself and rockers that seem content to just make music, Simmons responds by saying, “Rockers are idiots, come on. If strapping a guitar around their neck hadn’t worked out, thanks to the grace of god, they’d be putting on an apron and asking the person next to them if they’d like fries with that.”
A statement that may offend some, especially some of his fellow rockers, but there are some cases where his statement does seem to hit the mark, considering that here have been some well-publicized and quite brain-dead stunts perpetrated by famous rockers over the years. On the other hand, Simmons’ statement does seem to paint with a pretty broad brush, and I’m guessing he really does not believe that all rockers are idiots.
Simmons is nothing if not driven. Asked about his continued ambitions even after such impressive commercial success, Simmons responds, “There is no such thing as enough. Only small minds put barricades in front of themselves. If you perceive death, it is only a matter of time until you are dead. The guys with the most amount of money don’t get caught up in the trappings—it’s the lottery winners that buy all the stuff. Money, ironically enough, is beside the point. It’s the hunt, not the kill.”
Gene Simmons seems to be the kind of guy that does not plan to slow down until he drops dead, and I suspect that moment may come in the middle of a business meeting, or during the close of a big business deal. KISS or no KISS, Simmons will find a way to keep challenging himself, and engineering new methods of generating income while fulfilling his passion at the same time.
For the complete interview, visit Business Week.